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15 of 19 slain soldiers to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani

MANILA, Philippines - The remains of 15 soldiers killed in a nine-hour clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last Tuesday will be flown to Pasay City this afternoon.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said that the bodies of the 15 soldiers will be airlifted using the military's C130 planes. The planes will fly from Zamboanga City to Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

The bodies were expected to arrive at the airbase around 5 p.m. today. From the airbase, the remains will be brought to the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where they will be given military honors.

The military said that remains of the four remaining slain soldiers will be brought to Davao City and then transported to their respective provinces.

Those killed in the clash were: 2nd Lt. Jose Delfin Khe, 1 Lt. Colt G. Alsiyao, 1 Lt. Frank Junder P. Caminos, 1 Lt. Vladimer A. Maninang, Sgt. Ronald G. Sta. Rita PA, Sgt. Bonifacio R. Mabalot, Corporal Roderick S Cabanua and Privates First Class Mark Ted A. Quiban, Reny Y. Arciaga, Romel L. Ondovilla, Roberto Ricafranca, Jones S. Regor, Jobert D. Miguel, Jordan D. Olivar, Emerson C. Tugas, Ervin D. Dequito, Jordan M. Magno, Dennis R. Bolan and Garry C. Colonia.

The military said that the soldiers, members of the Philippine Army's Special Forces, were pursuing the group of Dan Laksaw Ansawi, a deputy commander of the MILF, when they were ambushed by Moro rebels in Sitio Bakisung, Barangay Cambug in Al-Barka, Basilan.

Asnawi was arrested for his alleged involvement in the beheading of 14 Marines in the same town in Basilan, which is also a lair of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group. Asnawi, a deputy commander of the MILF's 114th Base command, was rescued by his men from the Basilan provincial jail in 2009.

The MILF leadership said that its fighters fired at the military for entering their controlled territory in Al-Barka. The military, meanwhile, said that they were four kilometers away from the designated MILF area.



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